About the same time a young woman arrived, calling herself Mary Curtis. She was from Baltimore, and was prompted to escape to keep from being sold. She was nineteen years of age, small size, dark complexion. No special incidents in her life were noted.
William Brown came next. If others had managed to make their way out of the prison-house without great difficulties, it was far from William to meet with such good luck, as he had suffered excessively for five weeks while traveling. It was an easy matter for a traveler to get lost, not knowing the roads, nor was it safe to apply to a stranger for information or direction—therefore, in many instances, the journey would either have to be given up, or be prosecuted, suffering almost to the death.
In the trying circumstances in which William found himself, dark as everything looked, he could not consent to return to his master, as he felt persuaded, that if he did, there would be no rest on earth for him. He well remembered, that, because he had resisted being flogged (being high spirited), his master had declined to sell him for the express purpose of making an example of him—as a warning to the other slaves on the place. William was as much opposed to being thus made use of as he was to being flogged. His reflections and his stout heart enabled him to endure five weeks of severe suffering while fleeing from oppression. Of course, when he did succeed, the triumph was unspeakably joyous. Doubtless, he had thought a great deal during this time, and being an intelligent fugitive, he interested the Committee greatly.
The man that he escaped from was called William Elliott, a farmer, living in Prince George’s county, Md. William Elliott claimed the right to flog and used it too. William, however, gave him the character of being among the moderate slave-holders of that part of the country. This was certainly a charitable view. William was of a chestnut color, well made, and would have commanded, under the “hammer,” a high price, if his apparent intelligence had not damaged him. He left his father, grand-mother, four sisters and two brothers, all living where he fled from.
Charles Henry Brown. This “chattel” was owned by Dr. Richard Dorsey, of Cambridge, Maryland. Up to twenty-seven years of age, he had experienced and observed how slaves were treated in his neighborhood, and he made up his mind that he was not in favor of the Institution in any form whatever. Indeed he felt, that for a man to put his hand in his neighbor’s pocket and rob him, was nothing compared to the taking of a man’s hard earnings from year to year. Really Charles reasoned the case so well, in his uncultured country phrases, that the Committee was rather surprised, and admired his spirit in escaping. He was a man of not quite medium size, with marked features of mind and character.